Biology is the science of life. Study for the accredited Biological Sciences BSc at Newcastle and you’ll learn about animals, plants and microorganisms – their genetic make-up, their cellular structure and how they interact with the natural environment.
The Biological Sciences BSc gives you flexibility to study the subject in its whole breadth or to specialise in genetics or zoology. You’ll benefit from some of the country’s best facilities and technology, being taught by experts in the field renowned the world over for their cutting-edge research.
Our Biological Sciences BSc degree programme is structured to give you a comprehensive introduction to all aspects of Biological Sciences.
The modular structure gives you the opportunity to follow your interests and curiosity as the course unfolds; by choosing your favourite modules in years 2 and 3, you can focus on a single area of biology, or sample content from animal behaviour to molecular biology.
Why Study this Course?
There are plenty of reasons to study Biological Sciences BSc at Newcastle:
- We rank 5th for graduate employability in the Russell Group Universities. Our graduates work in diverse careers such as medicine, conservation, agriculture and more.
- We increasingly incorporate new areas of science relating to biology, such as bioinformatics, and the School has major high-technology facilities for research in genomics, structural biology and optical imaging.
- Specialist field courses for those involved in the study of animals, plants and ecological aspects are also available.
- We have a large and internationally recognised School of Biosciences offering expertise that is the foundation of our research-led teaching.
- We pride ourselves in our ‘enquiry-based learning‘ strategy that will equip you with the skills to achieve full potential in your future career.
University of Newcastle is accredited by the DETC Higher Learning Commission (DETC), www.detc.org.uk Since , University of Newcastle has been continually accredited by the DETC Higher Learning Commission and its predecessor.
Biological Sciences BSc (Hons)
Undergraduate, Single Honours
How long it takes:
Undergraduate (3 Year)
Distance learning/ Campus
Find out more about
Newcastle Law School
The first year modules are designed to give you a broad and balanced view of modern biology. They will develop from what you have learned at school but you will soon be learning new material.
All Biological Sciences students take the same modules in the first year, whether or not they have selected one of the specialised degree courses. You also take a Widening Horizon Module, which allows you to access content from other Schools, from Humanities to the Sciences to Engineering.
First year modules
Introduction to Evolution and Animal Biology – An overview of introduction from the pre-biotic era to Darwin and his impact. Natural selection, the origins of altruism and sexual reproduction, genetic determinants of evolution.
Fundamentals of Biochemistry – Fundamental biochemical processes taking place inside cells
Introduction to Microbiology – Broad introduction to microbiology with a focus on infectious disease, covering bacteria, fungi, protists, archaea and viruses.
Cell Biology and Physiology – Tissues, organelles, reproduction and development.
Ecological Concepts and Plant Sciences – This module provides a broad overview of the biology of our environment, including topics such as climate change, conservation, ecophysiology and cell biology of plants.
Genetics I – Storage of genetic information, gene expression and regulation, mitosis and meiosis, gene linkage and chromosome mapping.
Widening Horizon Module (WHM) – allows you to explore content from other academic programmes of this university in the form of a stand-alone module.
Personal and Academic Skills: Communication and Data Analysis
Personal and Academic Development
At this stage you begin to tailor the degree towards your own particular interests. In addition to the core modules you choose four specialist modules from the list below. If you have chosen one of the specialist Biological Sciences degree courses this is where your degree starts to be specific.
Second year modules
Core modules (taken by all students on the Biological Sciences programme)
Communication and Skills in Biosciences – Science communication in writing and oral presentations, ethics in science, analysis of the scientific literature.
Molecular Biology and its applications – Genetic analysis and gene cloning, DNA fingerprinting and forensics, genomics and computational approaches to genetics.
Example optional modules may include:
Animal Biology – This module explores how the central nervous system translates sensory stimuli to behaviour. Topics include comparative neurobiology, biological timekeeping, sensory biology, learning and behaviour and others.
Cell and Developmental Biology – Development of multicellular organisms, interaction between cells and the cellular matrix, regulation of stem cell function.
Microbes and Man – The impact of microbes on humans, bacteria, fungi and viruses, common themes of infectious disease mechanisms.
Genetics II – Organisation of genes and genomes, generation of genetic diversity, gene transmission and analysis of problems in transmission and molecular genetics.
Evolution of Humans and Other Animals – The primary aim of this module is to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of comparative animal biology in an evolutionary context.
Human Structure and Function – Human anatomy and how it relates to its function and evolutionary origin.
Critical Issues for 21st Century Ecosystems – Core skills in ecosystem knowledge
Plant Sciences: from Cells to the Environment- Plants interact flexibly with their environment. This module explores the cellular and molecular features facilitati ng such interactions, including interactions with parasites. The module introduces the model plant Arabidopsis, and you will design and test hypotheses in specific experiments
Field Course: Alpine and Glacial Ecology in Norway
Field Course: Adaptations to Aquatic Environments
The final year is made up of a combination of taught modules and independent study. It is here that the link between the teaching and the research in the school is particularly important. The final year modules are informed and inspired by the research being carried out in the school.
The final year allows choice from a range of specialised topics. Central to the final year is the research project, which makes up one third of the credits earned in the final year. This allows you to join one of our many research groups, providing the fascinating opportunity to experience research first hand and to contribute to current research projects.
Project work is not limited to the laboratory; some students will do more ecology- based projects involving field work.
Final year modules
Choose 40 credits from the following project modules:
- Critical analysis: Developing a research proposal (20 Credits)
- Evidence-Based Literature Review (20 Credits)
- Laboratory Project (40 Credits)
Choose four optional modules*
Example optional modules may include:
Molecular and Cellular Immunology – Evolution of the immune system, innate immunity, cell biology of immunity, structural basis of discrimination between self and non-self.
Cancer Biology – Regulation of cell division and aberrations in malignant tumours, genetic bases of tumourigenesis, programmed cell death.
Cellular Neurobiology – Neuronal function and neural development, synaptic function, transmitter receptors and ion channels.
Adaptation to changing environments – This ecology-oriented module examines behavioural, physiological and molecular mechanisms of adaptation to environmental stress. It examines animals’ mechanisms to respond to changes occurring on varying timescales and over diverse geographic areas
Living in Groups: Collective Behaviour in Animals – This module explores features and rules of group behaviour in animals. Introducing formal concepts such as Social Network Analysis, the module defines fundamental rules that govern collective behaviour, and how individuals partake in making and communicating decisions.
Eukaryotic Gene Expression – Control of gene transcription, chromatin structure, pre-mRNA processing, mRNA translation and degradation.
Bacterial Gene Regulation – How genes are switched on or off in response to external stimuli, how control of gene expression can be explored experimentally.
Global Challenges and Plant Science | Plant growth and development in relation to food supply, biofuels and climate change. Research-based module with emphasis on analysis of the current research literature.
Structures of Destruction – Bacterial and viral pathogens explored from the perspective of their molecular structures, protein misfolding and amyloid diseases.
Human Evolution – Genetics and genomics, development of bipedalism, development of society and how humans’ activity applies selective pressure on the evolution of HIV.
Human Health and Disease – This module builds on the 2nd year module ‘Human structure and function’, and discusses advanced concepts in anatomy and physiology. It also gives students an insight into how clinicians approach problems relating to diagnosis and management of disease.
Biodiversity and Conservation Management – Examining the scientific basis of conservation, the threats facing biodiversity and how those threats are assessed, why population size is critical and how biodiversity is maintained either in nature or at a backup location. The in situ management of diversity is given particular emphasis. The module is stand-alone but also complements Conservation Practice: Genes to Ecosystems.
Conservation Practice: Genes to Ecosystems – Examining the scientific basis for conservation and its genetic foundation.
Molecular Basis of Bacterial Infection – Evolution of bacterial virulence, antibiotics and antibiotics resistance, genomic data in analysing pathogenicity.
Introduction to Teaching Biosciences in Schools
Evolution of vertebrates
Advanced Topics in Animal Behaviour
Current developments and advances in Eukaryotic Genetics
Introduction to Teaching Biosciences in Schools
Research Methods in Microbiology
Applicants should normally have one of the following:
- A non-law bachelor’s degree (from a UK university or recognised by the BSB if you wish to study the BPTC), or
- A ‘stale’ law degree, where five or more years have elapsed since graduation, or
- An academic or professional qualification at degree equivalent level
If English is not your first language, you will also need to demonstrate your English Language proficiency. For example, you should have IELTS 7.5 overall with a minimum of 6.5 in all components.
If you intend to become a Solicitor
The Solicitors Regulation Authority has reduced its requirements for pre-authorisation this year. For details of the current arrangements, see the SRA website. You should pay special attention to the Character and Suitability section. If you think you may have a character or suitability issue, you may wish to clarify with the SRA before proceeding with the GDL.
See further details of our English Language requirement
USA,UK & EU students, 2019/20 (per year)
International students starting 2019/20 (per year)
You’ll show your progress through a combination of written essays, problem-solving assignments and presentations.
All students take our core modules, but please note that the availability of optional modules is subject to demand.
Almost 95% of our graduates are in employment or further study within six months of graduating 2015/16 Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey
Advances in the biosciences are having a profound impact on our daily lives in areas from human health to conservation. Biotechnology, biological pharmaceuticals, and personalised medicine are key growth areas in the health sector. Environmental remediation, climate change and related themes pose multi-faceted challenges for the coming decades. Expert knowledge in biology and the life sciences will be in high demand for the foreseeable future, with bright prospects for exciting and rewarding careers in research, teaching, industry, the NHS and the public sector.
A substantial part of our graduates choose to take a further degree, a postgraduate Masters or PhD. For many career paths, a further degree is an essential stepping-stone, including (but not limited to) careers in research. Our graduates are highly sought after by universities around the world, many stay in Newcastle and join one of our prestigious research groups.
Careers Network, our unique careers guidance service is tailored to your academic subject area. Our team source exclusive work experience opportunities to help you stand out amongst the competition, with mentoring, global internships and placements available to you. Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CVs and job applications will help give you the edge. In addition, our employer-endorsed award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme designed to improve your career prospects.